London: Want to keep obesity at bay? Munch off a handful of nuts daily, says a new study.
Researchers in Spain have carried out the study and found that eating just one ounce of raw unpeeled walnuts, almonds or hazelnuts everyday is enough to help fight off the flab, the `Daily Express` reported.
According to the researchers, the nuts work by promoting higher levels of the brain chemical serotonin -- a substance which helps decrease feelings of hunger, makes people feel happier and improves heart health.
The effect was discovered by studying patients with metabolic syndrome, a combination of symptoms which are a precursor to diabetes, heart attacks and strokes.
The researchers at University of Barcelona looked for dietary changes that could help patients shed excess weight and become healthier. They put 22 metabolic syndrome patients on a nut-enriched diet for nearly 12 weeks and compared them to another group of 20 patients who were told to avoid nuts.
They found evidence of several healthful changes in the nut eating group, including boosted levels of serotonin.
The study provides the first evidence in humans of the beneficial effects of nut consumption in reducing levels of substances in the body associated with inflammation and other cardiovascular risk factors, say the researchers.
The results have been published in the `American Chemical Society Journal of Proteome Research`.